Understanding the Coronavirus Crisis: Key Fiscal and Economic Indicators | Peter G. Peterson Foundation
Understanding the Coronavirus Crisis
Key Fiscal and Economic Indicators as the Nation Responds and Recovers
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been an unprecedented national emergency requiring a significant federal response. This page provides resources and analysis, tracking the actions our leaders have taken to respond, and providing insights on the state of America’s fiscal and economic outlook during the recovery.
The U.S. economy has returned to its pre-pandemic level, driven by the reopening of businesses, COVID relief programs, and ongoing vaccination efforts.
Cumulative Budget Deficit
$2.7 TrillionCumulative Deficit for Fiscal Year 2021.
The federal deficit could reach $3.0 trillion this year, the second highest amount ever recorded.
The unemployment rate has declined from its peak of 14.7 percent in April 2020, which was the highest of any month since January 1948 (when data were first collected).
Cost of Coronavirus Legislation
$5.1 TrillionTotal Cost of Enacted Legislation to Date
Lawmakers have enacted legislation funding a range of new and existing programs aimed at providing economic relief.
1.55%Interest Rate on 10-Year Treasury Notes, as of September 29, 2021
The Treasury has been able to borrow cheaply because the Federal Reserve has lowered interest rates and taken other measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gross Federal Debt
$28.4 TrillionAs of September 2, 2021
The amount of federal debt held by the public is anticipated to exceed the size of the economy by next fiscal year.
Real GDP Growth
Indicator Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Gross Domestic Product, September 2021.
Note: That number reflects the percent change in real GDP from the preceding quarter. It is reported at an annualized rate.
Cumulative Budget Deficits
Indicator Source: Department of the Treasury, Monthly Treasury Statement, Issue for August 2021.
Note: The federal fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The projection for this year’s federal deficit comes from the Congressional Budget Office.
Indicator Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Employment Situation — September 2021, October 2021.
Total Cost of Coronavirus Legislation Enacted
Indicator Source: Congressional Budget Office, The Budgetary Effects of Laws Enacted in Response to the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, March and April 2020 and The Budgetary Effects of Major Laws Enacted in Response to the 2020–2021 Coronavirus Pandemic, December 2020 and March 2021.
Indicator Source: U.S. Department of the Treasury, Daily Treasury Yield Curve Rates, September, 2021.
Indicator Source: Peter G. Peterson Foundation, What Is the National Debt Today?, September 2021.
Note: Each business day, the U.S. Department of the Treasury reports the amount of debt outstanding at the end of the previous business day. Our formula uses that number, as well as debt projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), to estimate the rate at which the debt is currently growing. Our estimates reflect the latest information from Treasury and CBO projections that are updated 2–3 times per year.
Gross federal debt equals debt held by the public plus debt held by federal trust funds and other government accounts. In very basic terms, this can be thought of as debt that the government owes to others plus debt that it owes to itself.